Why Am I Not Losing Weight?? – 7 common mistakes when trying to lose weight & how to fix them!

Image: www.vogue.it

Image: www.vogue.it

You seem to be doing everything “right” – cutting out junk food, eating salad all day, snacking on nuts or celery sticks, exercising more, but just don’t seem to be seeing the results you want or ever reaching your “goal weight”. Here are some common dieting mistakes that could be stopping you lose the weight you want, & my tips for making the simple changes you need to fix them, & finally shed those pounds!

1. Allowing yourself to get HUNGRY

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You might think you’re being virtuous by skipping meals or even going from lunch to dinner without snacking at all… but think again! When you’re ravenous two things happen: First, anything & everything looks & tastes delicious. Second, it takes a LOT more food to feel satisfied. As a result, you end up eating a lot more bad food! The solution is to eat small, healthy snacks between meals. These will help keep your blood sugar stable & your metabolism going strong. To do this, always carry healthy snacks with you if you know you’re going to be out & about for a long time, or working crazy hours & there’s risk of getting this starving!
Snacks should be 200 calories or less & a combination of fibre, healthy fats & protein for optimum satisfaction & blood sugar stability. Good examples are a portion of nuts, seeds & dried fruit; an apple & a tablespoon of peanut butter; or whole-grain crackers with hummus.

2. Portion Distortion

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It is essential to understand that: “healthy” does NOT equate with “not fattening”. Even if you stick to consuming only healthy foods such as nuts, hummus, avocado, olive oil & dark chocolate, you still have to watch your portion sizes & quantities. Just because they’re healthy, it does NOT mean you can eat them freely. Whilst there’s definitely benefit in consuming a little olive oil… if you pour it liberally over your pasta & dip your bread in it, it will lead to excessive calories & weight gain! The same goes for nuts… learn what a normal serving size looks like (it’s VERY EASY to eat the whole big bag!) & limit yourself to that.
It may be the case that you were once well aware of sensible portion sizes, but have just gotten lax about things – another factor leading to “portion distortion”. You may have started out being diligent about measuring, weighing or pre-portioning food when you first started watching your weight, but now you feel like “guesstimating” will do the job just as well. Whilst it is certainly not necessary to measure or weigh your food every day as a way of life, perhaps you just need a “re-check” as to what a normal serving size looks like (pull out your measuring cups or scale just once!) to get you back on track!

3. Mindless munching

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Whether it’s the odd nut here or there, tasting while you cook or bake (cake batter or cookie dough doesn’t count as eating, right!?) or nibbling leftovers from your kids’ dinner… every bite adds up! If you find you mindlessly eat at frequent times throughout the day, try keeping a food diary for a few days (at least 3) – to bring back your awareness of everything you eat & drink. This will allow you (or a qualified nutritionist) to analyse & identify where your eating habits could do with some improving!

4. Avoiding carbs like the plague

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Cutting out carbs completely might lead to weight loss at first, but it WON’T be sustainable, you’ll end up tired, lethargic, cranky & irritable. You will also pile on the pounds (and more!) the minute you start eating “normally” again… (unless you like the idea of living off dry tuna, http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/pain-relief/ chicken, lettuce leaves & steamed broccoli for the rest of your life!) Although cutting out all starchy foods is a MAJOR diet disaster, when eating them you must stick to the rights ones! These include whole-grain unrefined carbohydrates such as: whole-grain / rye bread, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes & oats. These are great sources of fibre & full of a variety of other nutrients.

5. Trying to go “fat-free”

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Remember: you need some good fats to burn fat! This means eating good, healthy unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, peanut butter, avocado, olive oil & various other healthy oils. These fats are super-healthy & add satiety to food. They should be included in your daily diet, as they are proven to lower the risk of heart disease & aid the body in the absorption of vitamins & minerals. As long as you incorporate them in moderate amounts (as they are calorific), you’ll feel fuller & more satisfied, helping you lose weight (& keep it off for good!). In their absence, we tend to reach for sweet & starchy foods. Incorporating good fats into your diet will help reduce sugar cravings, increase energy levels & keep you fuller for longer!

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6. Over-reliance on exercise

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Whilst exercise is great & essential for health, it is NOT the key to weight loss… that depends (virtually entirely) on what goes into your mouth! As any personal trainer will tell you: “You can’t out-train a bad diet” & “Abs are made in the kitchen“. Exercise can also serve to increase your appetite (which is natural) & you DO need to re-fuel properly after a workout (neglecting to do this is another diet disaster)! I will leave the details of optimum pre- & post-workout nutrition for another time, but exercise certainly doesn’t give you carte-blanche to eat whatever you like, & the calories you burn play a very minor part in your weight loss efforts compared to the food you eat. So view exercise as essential for your HEALTH, NOT weight loss!

7. Getting despondent…

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… & giving up! Don’t get “weighed down” by the number on the scale – it’s really NOT everything. Getting despondent & impatient, with a need to see “fast” drastic results, will sabotage all your efforts. Besides, there are other (perhaps more important) ways to track your progress, such as how your clothes fit, how you look & feel, your energy levels, mood & stamina, your waist circumference & body fat percentage. Giving up or getting despondent just because you don’t see the number on the scale dropping as much as you’d like is the worst thing you can do. Making sustainable changes to your diet & lifestyle, & noticing results can be a slow process. It can take several weeks to achieve noticeable results… be patient & stick with your new healthy habits. Your body is benefitting every day from all the changes you make. Stick with the healthy changes you are making, & you are guaranteed to see results (most importantly, ones that will LAST!).

These are all common mistakes & struggles that I see on a daily basis amongst my clients.  Whilst being aware of them is a big start to changing & getting you on your weight loss track, it’s common (for anyone & EVERYONE) to struggle & need some coaching from a professional.  These are all areas that I, as well as many nutritionists can guide clients effectively in, to ensure that their weight loss goals are reached smoothly without the need to struggle alone.  Like any real change in life, it’s often easier done by sticking to a long-term plan, rather than try to navigate nutrition on your own! 🙂

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